Is this the best dolphin picture ever taken? We guarantee it is a genuine photo with no digital enhancing or addition of the dolphins … this is how it was! The shot was taken at 4:16pm on June 28, 2002, (thank goodness for digital cameras, they store all that sort of information!) on a Nikon D1X camera with a Nikkor 500mm f8 mirror lens.
The once-in-a-lifetime photograph of 17 dolphins muscling in on the humans during a professional surfing competition was taken by John Pauling, a South African surfing photographer … he’s been surfing since 1965, and has worked as a professional photographer since 1973 (all his adult career). It is published by us at Artists Harbour as a photograph on glossy paper and as a poster on matte art paper.
This is what John says about how he got lucky and took the best surfing shot of his career:
“It was taken at a well known surf spot just south of Durban called Cave Rock during a surf contest called the Rip Curl Tube Masters. It’s an annual event held there because of the big hollow waves that come through at that time of year.
I’ve been a professional photographer all my working life starting in 1973 and have been involved with surfing since about 1965 so I’ve learned a whole heap from the true “surfers”!
At this time of the year (May to July) the surf always picks up due to weather conditions (our winter) and along the Natal coast we have a unique situation with huge shoals of sardines migrating up the coast towards Mozambique. Of course bigger fish follow the sardines, game fish follow those fish and then the sharks and dolphins follow the game fish, the old who-eats-who story.
It’s fairly common to have dolphins in the waves with you while surfing, quite unnerving at times they come up next to you while you’re on the wave!
On this particular day, I saw the pod cruising in the backline behind the surfers and knew from experience that at some stage one or two of them would break off and join the guys in the surf.
So I was anticipating some action from them, but nothing like what they presented me with!
I’ve been shooting surf pictures for over 30 years all around South Africa but rate this as the best one I’ve ever been lucky enough to get!”